Seen & heard on campus

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

Preparing to make a good confession? Yeah, there’s an app for that now, too, and it’s got a strong thread of Notre Dame DNA inside it. Ryan Kreager, a doctoral candidate in psychology, is one of the three self-described “Catholic geeks” who developed “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. For a cool buck ninety-nine at iTunes’ App Store, penitents can download and personalize the sacramental resource, which features an examination of conscience written by Father Dan Scheidt ’91, the pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka. It’s one of iTunes’ best sellers so far this year. Kreager and his partners garnered some extra buzz after receiving an imprimatur — an official clean bill of doctrinal health — from Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades, a distinction thought to be unprecedented for the text of a piece of mobile-device application software. Late-night comedians roasted the concept and some commentators mistakenly suggested that the Church had approved virtual confessions, prompting a Vatican clarification that the app is only a preparation aid and not a substitute for the sacrament. Kreager and company wholeheartedly agree and Father Scheidt says parishioners have already used the app inside his confessional. . . . Notre Dame is one of the most selective schools in the country, but Admissions has nothing on the Office of the President when it comes to granting filmmakers permission to shoot a major motion picture on campus. Only Knute Rockne, All-American (1940) and Rudy (1993) had made the cut — until this year. Producers are raising money, and they hope to begin filming the story of Haley Scott DeMaria ’95, the Irish swimmer who overcame the life-threatening injuries she sustained when the team bus slid off the icy Indiana Toll Road on January 24, 1992, en route home from a meet near Chicago. Two teammates, fellow freshmen Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp, died that night. But the young sprinter survived the accident and the grueling rehabilitation of her body, inspiring everyone from her doctors and classmates to former football coach Lou Holtz. The tentatively titled Two Miles from Home will tell the story of DeMaria’s determined return to her studies and her sport. . . . It was back to school last fall for Terrence “The Relentless” Rogers ’79, who enrolled in the Law School’s graduate LL.M. program for international human rights, but that’s not why Rogers was all over the news. Beyond his studies, the 55-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had two other goals in mind — winning the Bengal Bouts title that had thrice eluded him as a transfer student in the late 1970s and breaking the famed boxing tournament’s $100,000 record take on behalf of the Congregation of Holy Cross’ work in Bangladesh. Rogers lost his preliminary-round fight in the 167 lb. weight class by unanimous decision to senior David “Mountain Man” Gray, ending that dream, but at press time the tournament still had a fighting chance at a six-figure gift for the missions. “Apparently I moved a lot of people, which is not something I expected to do,” Rogers says of the supportive crowd and the congratulations he received from all corners of campus after the fight. “I had expected that some people would be interested in the outcome of the competition, especially because of my age, but everyone seems genuinely happy for me for simply getting into the ring and putting up a competitive battle.” . . . Gold looks pretty good on day-glo pink. So say the members of the Notre Dame Synchronized Skating Team, who performed their program in eye-catching outfits to songs from the rock musical Hair and took the gold medal in Minneapolis on February 5 at one of their sport’s most prestigious events, the Midwestern Synchronized Skating Championships. The accomplishment was a first for the club team, founded in 1997 and coached by Tracey Mulherin ’02. . . . House Speaker John Boehner showcased his support for school choice legislation and Catholic schools in particular through his first-ever list of invited guests to President Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address. Sitting near Washington D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl and D.C. Parents for School Choice executive director Virginia Walden Ford in the House chamber that night were John P. Kelly, a first-year teacher in ND’s Alliance for Catholic Education master’s program, and Mike Thomasian ’09M.Ed., a graduate of ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. . . . Scissor lifts are gone for good at the football team’s LaBar Practice Complex. While Notre Dame and the state of Indiana continue their separate investigations into the lift collapse that killed junior Declan Sullivan, a student videographer, during afternoon practice on October 27, the University announced it was installing a remote-controlled video system in time for spring practices, which began March 23. Four pole-mounted cameras will capture footage for review at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Videographers will also work from LaBar’s permanent towers. . . . The oldest band in the land has now officially entered the ranks of its best. During the home football game against Air Force on October 8, the Marching Band will receive the 2011 Sudler Trophy, a now-biennial honor presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize “collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life.” No band may win the honor twice; Notre Dame’s is the 28th marching band to receive the 22.5-inch-tall trophy — a bronze drum major elevated above a football stadium atop a marble base. It will be displayed for two years at Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall. . . . Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Jimmy Clausen rejoined the senior class in January with the goal of walking with them in May. Clausen, a sociology major who entered the NFL draft in 2010 after three years leading the Fighting Irish under former head coach Charlie Weis ’78, has said he promised himself and his parents he would finish his Notre Dame degree and that the anticipated pro football lockout made this spring an attractive time to do it. . . . Soccer magician Melissa Henderson, whose 17 goals and 11 assists helped propel the women’s team to the national title in December, has received the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top collegiate women’s soccer player. The award puts the All-America junior forward in the voting later this spring for the Honda-Broderick Cup, honoring the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year from among candidates representing 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. . . . The forbidden underground tunnels that deliver precious, life-giving steam heat most everywhere on campus also contain Al Capone’s riches, Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E and Jimmy Hoffa’s tomb and lead all the way to Dublin and the Lost City of Atlantis — or so one might think, given their siren allure to generations of Domers. But sophomore commentator Suzanna Pratt of The Observer has demystified the tunnels for all time in a tart, 400-word essay and photo gallery that appears on the student newspaper’s online multimedia page. “The passageways are narrow and the ceilings are low. There is only enough room to walk single file,” Pratt warned freshmen who complain about walking in the South Bend winter. “Unless you enjoy arriving to class covered in sweat and grime, the tunnels are not your friend. It is hot and gross down there.”